Read Nocturne Online

Authors: Graham Hurley

Nocturne

 

Reviews for previous Graham Hurley novels

 

 

SABBATHMAN

 


Graham Hurley is on a roll

convincing and disturbing

 

DAILY TELEGRAPH

 

 

A thriller with a lethal plot, sharply drawn characters and a nail-biting ending

 

PUBLISHING NEWS

 

 


Puts him firmly in the premier league of British thriller writers.

One of the best thrillers I

ve read in years

 

YORKSHIRE EVENING PRESS

 

 

Probably one of the best thrillers you

ll ever read

 

LANCASHIRE EVENING TELEGRAPH

 

 


It

s all done with a high degree of plausibility and hard-edged topicality and comes recommended

 

GLASGOW EVENING TIMES

 

 


Brilliant stuff of the kind that keeps you awake at night

 

NORTH EASTERN GAZETTE

 

 

 

 

THE
PERFECT
SOLDIER

 


A
thriller full of compassion and excitement

the pace never flags.
A gem of a story

 

PUBLISHING NEWS

 

 


A
moving story

unique and gripping.

 

PETERBOROUGH EVENING TELEGRAPH

 

 

Passionate and powerful

one hell of a compelling read

 

DARLINGTON NORTHERN ECHO

 

 


Compelling and thought-provoking

 

YORKSHIRE EVENING POST

 

 


A
book written from the heart, a book that deserves to be read all the more because of it

 

EXETER EXPRESS & ECHO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOCTURNE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Graham Hurley

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

REAPER

THE DEVIL

S BREATH

THUNDER IN THE BLOOD

SABBATHMAN

THE PERFECT SOLDIER

HEAVEN

S LIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOCTURNE

 

Graham
Hurley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Graham Hurley 1998

All
rights
reserved

The right of Graham Hurley to be identified as the author

of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with

the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998.

First published in Great Britain in 1998 by
Orion

 

An imprint of Orion Books Ltd

Orion House, 5 Upper St Martin

s Lane

London WC2H9EA

 

A CIP catalogue record for this book

is available from the British Library

ISBN o 75281 304 8 (hardcover)

o 75281 305 6 (trade paperback)

Typeset at The Spartan Press Ltd,

Lymington, Hants

 

Printed in Great Britain by

Clays Ltd, St Ives

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Jane and Simon

with love

 

 

 

 

 

 


La
nuit
bien-aimee
.
La
nuit
,
la
raison
dort
,

et
simplement
les
choses
sont
.’

 


Pilote de Guerre

Antoine de Saint Exup
é
ry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

If this were a film, the opening sequence would find me in bed.

It

s half past four in the morning, still dark. I

ve been awake all night,
worried sick about Billie. Billie is my baby daughter. She

s nearly three
months old. This afternoon, in a local park, someone took her away.

I

d been in the cafe for maybe a second or two longer than usual. I
was buying myself a sticky bun and a can of Diet Coke. There were lots
of people and I had to push my way through to get back outside. The
pram was still there, hard up against the window. But Billie had gone.

In the flat upstairs, I can hear Gilbert on patrol, six steps across, nine
steps up and down. He

s been walking the circuit for hours on end,
caged in his own back room, as helpless and as desperate as I am. I
broke the news this afternoon. It was obvious he didn

t believe
it and
neither can I.
I
thought that finding Billie gone was the worst moment
of my life but every hour that passes makes the feeling worse. What
kind of monster takes a baby like that? What kind of mother lets it
happen?

I think guilt must wall you off from the world because it takes me
longer than usual to pick up the sound of movement outside my
bedroom window. I first put the footsteps down to party-goers from
the squat across the back. Then, very distinctly, I hear a squeaking
hinge. It belongs to the kitchen door that leads to the garden. There

s a
whispered conversation, two people at least, then silence again. Even
Gilbert

s footsteps overhead have stopped.

Given what I

ve been through these last few hours - indeed, these
,
last few months – I
suppose I should be hardened to excitements like
these but sadly I

m not. I pull the sheet up to my chin. I shut my eyes. I
say a prayer. Dear God, please let all this stop.

Seconds later, my bedroom door is opening. I search for the light
beside my bed but the torch has already found me. I hear a voice, male,
urgent.


Miss?

I

m shielding my eyes. I expect the worst. It doesn

t happen.

Get dressed. Quick as you can, love.

At last I

ve found the light switch. My visitor is wearing a black
jump suit. His hands are gloved. Across the buttoned pocket on his
chest, a velcroed strip reads DC Flowers. I should ask him how he
forced the door, what right he

s got to be here, but this list of sensible
questions is the last thing on my mind.

It

s about Billie, I say. It

s about my baby. Have they found her? Has
he come with news? It

s obvious he hasn

t a clue what I

m talking
about. He tells me again to get dressed, to keep calm. The street is
being evacuated.


Evacuated?

He nods, backing towards the door.


You

ve got two minutes

he says.

Then you

re out of here.

Outside, it

s freezing. At the far end of the street, a double-decker
bus is filling with other residents. I join them on board. Faces I
recognise: families, babies, students, drop-outs, old folk. We

re all
half-asleep, wall-eyed, bewildered. The place is swarming with police.
Everywhere you look there are men and women murmuring into
radios. They looked watchful, keyed up. Of Gilbert, I realise, there

s
absolutely no sign.

A couple of minutes later, after a head count, they drive us away.
The local library has obviously been opened specially. There are
mattresses on the floor and a pile of neatly folded blankets. A woman
behind the issuing counter is dispensing mugs of cocoa from a big urn.

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